What Tarantino’s “Star Trek” Might Look Like

Star Trek fans have been curious since it was announced that Quentin Tarantino will be directing a new film in the franchise.  What would the director of violent films such as Reservoir Dogs (1992), Django Unchained (2012), and The Hateful Eight (2015) do to the beloved series?  Now, Nerdist presents a short preview for how they imagine the new film will look.

The trailer features a narrator over scenes from the original series.  It also includes a guitar soundtrack that sounds right out of Pulp Fiction (1994).

In Nerdist’s imagination, the Tarantino film will feature Captain Kirk and the rest of the gang blazing their way through the universe with guns and punches. Do not want to cross this crew.

Check out the funny trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek: Voyage to Vengeance. “Set your phasers to thrill!”

As of now, the upcoming Star Trek film, which will be written by Mark L. Smith who wrote The Revenant (2015), does not have a release date.

What is your favorite Star Trek film? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    “Star Trek Beyond” Gets Back to Basics

    The latest installment in the rebooted Star Trek films, Star Trek Beyond (2016), is a fun ride that helps get the series back on track although it does not reach the heights of most films in the original series.  If you have been following the reboot, you will probably enjoy the ride.  Still, you might feel like you wanted a little bit more.

    The Good

    First, consider the good things about Star Trek Beyond.  The strength of the reboot has always been the actors selected to play the iconic roles.  With no exception, each of the actors in the main roles are reminiscent enough of the original actors while also bringing something new.

    Chris Pine, as Captain Kirk, builds on William Shatner’s swagger.  Similarly, Zachary Quinto perfectly evokes the late Leonard Nimoy‘s character.  Quinto adds a little more vulnerability to Spock in the alternate universe of the current films.

    Meanwhile, the actors in the other main roles have all been given moments to shine in the three movies.  The outstanding cast includes Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, and Anton Yelchin, who recently passed away.  Pegg, who plays Scottie, co-wrote with Doug Jung the most recent film, which was directed by Justin Lin.

    As with the original series and films, I will continue to watch every Star Trek film with this cast.  The greatest enjoyment I get from the series is the interaction and relationships among the characters.

    The Not-So-Good

    Like many modern action films, Star Trek Beyond often relies too much on action in place of drama.  Some scenes seemed to drag on with dark CGI effects that at times seemed repetitive.

    Similarly, I was excited that Iris Elba was playing the villain in this film.  But for the majority of the time, he is buried in makeup.  Without spoiling anything, I wish the film would have made better use of this great actor by further developing his personal turmoil and making him more three dimensional.

    On the other hand, the reality of modern movies is that they overly rely upon action, partly to appeal to younger viewers and partly to appeal to international viewers.  That said, the movie does have good action scenes.

    How Does Star Trek Beyond Compare to Other Films in the Franchise?

    The first film in the rebooted movies, 2009’s Star Trek, was a wonderful re-introduction to the Star Trek characters.  That film, directed by J.J. Abrams and written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, brought together this great cast.

    The 2009 movie also intelligently created an alternate universe for the characters. The plot twist that affects the entire series allows viewers to see the characters develop without us knowing their futures. Rotten Tomatoes gives Star Trek an excellent 95% critics score and a 91% audience score.

    The second film, 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, was a disappointment for many fansInto Darkness, again directed by J.J. Abrams, was written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof.

    Fans had high expectations for Into Darkness once rumors leaked that the movie would feature the character Khan Noonien Singh.  The character had appeared in the original series.  More importantly, Khan was the villain in what many consider the best Star Trek film, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982).

    Into Darkness, for the most part, was fun.  Rotten Tomatoes gives Into Darkness an 86% critics score and a 90% audience score. But by the end of the movie, many Star Trek fans were disappointed or angry  The producers created a movie that tried to retread too much of The Wrath of Khan. Thus, it ended up being a somewhat ridiculous story instead of a tribute to the much better movie.

    Star Trek Beyond avoids the pitfalls of Into Darkness.  Instead of trying to rework another movie, it creates a new adventure for the crew of the Enterprise.  Some have noted that the new movie seems more like a television episode, and there is some truth to that.

    Star Trek Beyond takes a few nods at developing the depth of the characters and addressing larger issues.  It begins with Captain Kirk pondering the sameness of day-to-day life in space.  Similarly, Spock gets news that makes him reconsider his career choice too.

    But the movie does not do enough with these existential crises, perhaps reflecting modern worries that tend to focus on violence and terrorism.  Most of the movies in the original series did a little more with the characters (most notably Kirk’s aging in The Wrath of Khan).

    Star Trek Beyond instead hints at what might have been a better movie.  And there are some other deep themes regarding violence, isolationism, and collectivism bubbling around the seams.

    Conclusion?

    I liked Star Trek Beyond.  It featured some funny dialogue and great action scenes.  And one cannot resist the appearance of a Beastie Boys song fulfilling a role similar to a Slim Whitman song in Mars Attacks (1996).

    While I have high expectations for the Star Trek franchise that may be hard to meet, this movie still is a fun summer popcorn movie.  Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an 84% critics rating and an 85% audience rating. It was great to see the characters and actors together again. I can’t wait for the next film in the franchise.

    What did you think of Star Trek Beyond? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    “Star Trek Beyond” Tribute to Leonard Nimoy

    The cast of the upcoming third movie in the Star Trek franchise reboot Star Trek Beyond created a short video tribute to Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock in the original series and passed away February 27, 2015. In the new video, Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock in the new franchise, encourages fans to give to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, one of Nimoy’s favorite charities.

    Quinto also explains that if you give to a charitable campaign featuring nine charities selected by cast members and Nimoy’s widow Susan Nimoy, you can win a role in Star Trek Beyond, directed by Justin Lin. Go to the Omaze website or watch the video below for the Leonard Nimoy tribute and more information.

    Star Trek Beyond, which has been filming in Vancouver recently, hits theaters on July 8, 2016. The movie’s screenplay was written by Doug Jung and Simon Pegg, who plays Scottie.

    Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    The Strange Coincidence With the Ending of “Wrath of Khan”

    Many commentators have noticed the parallels between Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Several parallels are intentional, but is one of the biggest similarities just a coincidence? Note that this post has spoilers for both Moby Dick and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

    The Wrath of Khan (“TWOK“) mirrors the overrding theme of vengeance from Moby Dick. Just as Ahab is driven by his desire for vengeance against the white whale, TWOK focuses on Khan’s obsessive quest for vengeance against Captain Kirk (William Shatner). The movie writers’ intent is reinforced with Herman Melville’s book appearing in one scene and Khan quoting or paraphrasing from Moby Dick at points (“to the last I grapple with thee; from Hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee”). Finally, the ending of TWOK is almost identical to the ending of Moby Dick. But what is interesting is that, despite all of the intentional similarities, it appears that this major similarity about the two endings is entirely coincidental.

    In the end of TWOK, after Spock dies, his body is sent off in a photon torpedo as his coffin. In one of the final scenes, we see that this “coffin” has landed on the planet where Genesis is bringing the planet back to life.

    The test version of the film, though, omitted the final coffin-on-the-rejuvinating-planet scene. Various sources, including Wikipedia, explain that Leonard Nimoy had initially agreed to reprise his role as Mr. Spock in TWOK only because his character would finally be killed. But, as the filming was coming to a close, Nimoy had enjoyed the making of the movie so much, he wanted to allow for Spock’s return if they so chose. So, the scene of Spock mind melding with Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) was added, but the initial cut of the movie still ended in a way that appeared to make Spock’s death final. Only after test audiences reacted poorly to seeing the icon’s death did producer Harve Bennett add the final scene showing Spock’s coffin on the rejuvenating planet with Nimoy’s voiceover of the traditional Star Trek series opening monologue.

    The director, Nicholas Myer objected to the changes but allowed them. According to his director’s commentary on the video, he believed it was cheating to change the finality of the death scene (and having no interest in a resurrection story, he declined an offer to direct Star Trek III: The Search for Spock). In the commentary, he explains that as the movie was being finalized, producers realized that they might want to continue the series. And so the movie has the ending we all know:

    Other sources confirm the story about the changes to the ending of TWOK. The book Star Trek and Sacred Ground, by Jennifer E. Porter and Darcee L. McLaren, reports that the first versions of the film did not include the scenes with Spock’s coffin landing on the Genesis planet. (p. 155.) A 2010 Los Angeles Times article noted Nimoy’s response to seeing the coffin scene: ”I was caught by surprise by the ending…. I was sitting there watching it and the camera goes across some foliage, some mist — a little magical kind of look — and guess what, there’s the black tube … whoa, I think I’m going to get a call from Paramount.”

    So why is it interesting that the final scene was an afterthought and not planned from the start? Because so much of the rest of the movie echoes Moby Dick, and in the classic novel, a coffin plays an important role. Aboard the novel’s ship the Pequod, the character Queequeg at one point thought he was dying and had a coffin built for him. At the end of the novel, the obsessed Ahab is killed by his obsession just as the obsessed Khan is effectively killed by his obsession Kirk. Then, the book’s narrator Ishmael survives because after the Pequod is destroyed, he uses the coffin as a life buoy, just as Spock is left with a coffin after the Enterprise is almost destroyed. As Ishmael is adrift after the ship’s destruction, he describes his discovery of a “black bubble” in the ocean:

    “[T]he black bubble upward burst; and now, liberated by reason of its cunning spring, and owing to its great buoyancy, rising with great force, the coffin like-buoy shot lengthwise from the sea, fell over, and floated by my side. Buoyed up by that coffin, for almost one whole day and night, I floated on a soft and dirge-like main. The unharming sharks, they glided by as if with padlocks on their mouths; the savage sea-hawks sailed with sheathed beaks. On the second day, a sail drew near, nearer, and picked me up at last.”

    [Update February 2015: The final coffin scene from the Gregory Peck movie does not seem to be on YouTube any longer, but below is a trailer for the movie.]

    When I first saw The Wrath of Khan in the movie theater, because of the Moby Dick references, I thought the director intended to invoke Moby Dick again at the end. Just as the classic novel ended with Ishmael surviving in a scene with a coffin, I thought the producers’ message with the final coffin scene was designed to evoke Ishmael’s survival, revealing that Spock would live again. While they did intend to imply Spock might live again, it seems it was a coincidence that the way they did it once again invoked Moby Dick.

    Were the similar endings a coincidence? What do you think? Leave a comment.

    Bonus Moby Dick References: There are a couple of other parallels between Moby Dick and Star Trek outside The Wrath of Khan. Captain Picard, i.e., Patrick Stewart, starred in a TV version of Moby Dick and like Khan he quoted the book in a Star Trek movie, Star Trek: First Contact (1996).

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    7 Things About “Star Trek: Into Darkness” (Short Review)

    Here are seven spoiler-free things about Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013).

    1. You already know whether or not you will enjoy Star Trek: Into Darkness. If you are a Star Trek fan or like action movies in space, you will see the movie no matter what I say. And you probably will not be disappointed. For a Star Trek fan like me, it is a very entertaining movie and the most fun I have had at the cinema in awhile.

    2. Director J.J. Abrams continues with our heroes in an alternate time-line from the 1960s series and the William Shatner movies. In this first sequel to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (2009) reboot, where time does not need to be wasted on the set-up, we are starting to see the brilliance of having the freedom to change the events of the “past” while also connecting to the stories we know.

    3. While the first film took me awhile to adapt to the new actors in the classic roles, by now the actors fit well into their roles. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho and others have become the characters we know. Benedict Cumberbatch does a good job as the bad guy too.

    4. There are several references to the old TV and movie series. I will leave it to you to decide whether the movie overdoes it. On one hand, one might conclude there was a little too much old and not enough new — while also wondering if this alternate universe storyline really makes much sense for the characters. But on the other hand, the connections did make for an entertaining and clever movie.

    5. As Slate has noted, the new film has a little something to say about the U.S. war on terrorism, making the movie relevant in the way the old series was. The Atlantic, however, finds the message is not so ambiguous. There is a lot to discuss on this point, which makes the movie even more memorable.

    6. While many speculated about the identity of the villain prior to the film’s release (and which I will not spoil here), I was pleasantly surprised by the appearance of one of these (warning: clicking on the link will give you a minor spoiler).

    7. Conclusion? If you liked past Star Trek films, you should see Star Trek: Into Darkness. But I probably did not need to tell you that.



    What did you think of Star Trek: Into Darkness? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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